I spent some time talking to Osvaldo Alonso and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado today, but here are team-provided quotes after training.
Brad Evans was carted off with an apparent knee injury that coach Sigi Schmid said was a recurring issue. Zach Scott is also nursing a knock.
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Sigi Schmid – Head Coach
(On today’s training drills . . .) “We were just doing patterns. Just trying to do some passing patterns that result in finishing. Just get them to do things by instinct where they know when it’s happening. They know when they are turning here this guy’s going to make that run. So we just wanted a couple of patterns to do that and to get the guys hitting certain balls that we wanted them to hit to get movement from the two forwards up front where they are interchanging to play balls off first time and then to get good service from the wings.”
(On Zach Scott and Brad Evans . . .) “Zach took a hit to the quad and had a little bit of a dead leg. Brad has a weird thing where it has happened like once a season. It happened once his first year in Columbus. It happened once his second year in Columbus. It happened once last year where his knee just locks on him and usually it takes a little bit and unlocks and then he’s fine. It’s something doctors haven’t felt they need to do surgery for because it always unlocks on him so we’ll see. Today it didn’t unlock as quickly as it normally does but hopefully it’s unlocked now.”
(On fan reaction to wins and losses . . .) “I didn’t get any emails this week. I don’t hear anything when we lose. I got a phone call from somebody I hadn’t talked to in a long time explaining to me that when he saw us play against Barcelona last year and saw this game and comparing and contrasting the performances. So I thought that was a little interesting. You try and be polite. It’s a situation obviously fans are fans and their heart and soul is in it. So you get disappointed. I mean, we are disappointed when we don’t get the result. I have always said to the team, the difference between winning and losing is not huge. It’s a little thing. So if Zakuani’s shot is hit a little higher maybe Bouna doesn’t get it. If it’s a little more in the corner maybe he doesn’t get it. If Alonso’s shot was a little more to Bouna’s right maybe it goes in. Evans same thing. If Freddie does better with his header. So the difference between winning and losing are little small things.”
(On absence of Nate Jaqua . . .) “Nate is a different type of forward than the other forwards we have. So he brings different characteristics into the field of play. I know Freddie made the comment that without Jaqua our corners are not as dangerous. I think we were the high or second in the league in goals off corners last year and I don’t think Jaqua got many off corners for us. But him being in there maybe draws the marker who is now taking Tyrone Marshall was maybe marking Jaqua before. So now he is getting a better marker. So it changes their marking assignments when they have Jaqua in there. Their concern about him maybe draws some of the attention away and opens some space for others. So there are all kinds of little things.”
(On first road game of 2010 season . . .) “We have got to make sure Grant has all of the plane arrangements made and stuff. That will help us. I would hate to show up at the airport with no flight to take. It’s back to grass I think is a little more of a difference for us just making sure we get ready and we are prepared for that. Last year, we didn’t start off very well on the road early on but we ended up being a very good road team at the end of the year. We were flat out .500 for the season and I don’t know where that put us in the league but I think that put us like second or third in the league. We have no qualms about going on the road. Sometimes on the road opens up some attacking spaces for Ljungberg and Zakuani and people like that because the other team pushes up more. We are looking forward to doing well. We thought last year we gave a good account of ourselves in Salt Lake. We made a massive defensive mistake that cost us a goal but outside of that we did a pretty good job. We expect to win whether we are home or away.”
Freddie Ljungberg – Midfielder/Forward
(On today’s training drills . . .) “It’s a little bit like I’ve spoken about all season we try to get some rhythms in the game . . . It’s something we are training on and it’s important in the game, especially when you have a game that doesn’t work well you need to have something to rely on and fall back on. Just more things like that we’ll work on and especially when it is time to run 110% or 100% sometimes we maybe jog and don’t know if the ball is going to come or we don’t make that extra effort into it. So those things were what we were training on.”
(On Real Salt Lake . . .) “It’s going to be a tough game. They won the league and last year when we played there they were quite physical but they played well and we lost the game. So it’s going to be a tough one. If you go back to the New York game, I think we had a lot of possession and a lot of that but [Hans] Backe has made them very organized and that’s hard to break down. I think it was something new for our team to see. I think that’s probably the most organized team we have played so far and we have to have sharp passing and maybe didn’t have it as well as we could. We lost because of that but I didn’t think it was a bad game in that way. We dominated it but we lost unfortunately.”
(On training sessions . . .) “What we did today was general. There are certain things we need to get better at and when you get the opportunity, like I said, go 100% and sprint into the box when the ball is coming in there so you have maybe a step ahead of your defender and then it is much easier to score. It’s small things like that we try to get into the players.”
(On lower back injury . . .) “It’s sore. I didn’t train anything at all last week and I wanted to train a little bit this week. So I’ve tried to get on with it.”
(On back being more sore after game . . .) “It’s very sore but it’s blood and bone bruising and stuff so there’s not much you can do. I hope it will ease off the way the week goes.”